Game-winning field goal helps Prospect edge Evanston, stay perfect
Prospect had cranked up the offense in their first two games of the season, scoring 56 and 52 points respectively in consecutive victories.
Friday night against visiting Evanston, it was defense and special teams that saved the day for the Knights.
The Wildkits came in to George Gattas Memorial Stadium, played an extraordinary game, and had Prospect on the ropes late.
But the Knights stopped Evanston (1-2) on two late fourth quarter drives, and senior Gavin Flanagan booted a game-winning field goal as Prospect survived with a 17-14 Homecoming win to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Knights linebacker Michael Matuszak led the defensive effort, and the junior came up with a clutch play with less than 30 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
"We've been working this whole summer," Matuszak said. "And we always work hard, no matter what. We knew that we (the defense) were going have to step up at some point of the season, be it early or later on, and we stepped up now."
"Evanston is one tough team," he said. "All credit to them tonight." Both teams had the pedal to the metal on the defensive side in the first half.
Matuszak and John Zei each recorded sacks in the first two quarters to keep the Wildkits pinned in their own territory, and the offense came alive just before halftime.
Sebastian Wildhart caught a 15-yard touchdown pass over the middle from QB Bradley Vierneisel to give Prospect a 7-0 lead at intermission.
Evanston crept to within 7-6, then Frank Covey took a short pass from Vierneisel and broke 5 tackles en route to the end zone and a 14-6 Knights advantage.
It was 14-14 late in the fourth after a Wildkits score and 2-point conversion, then Evanston got the ball back and was driving.
But Knights defensive back Jack Berman stopped the Wildkits on fourth down with a pass breakup, and the home team took the ball down to the visitor's 8-yard line, where Flanagan sent a 24-yard kick through the uprights to give Prospect the lead with 2:18 remaining.
"I had missed one earlier," Flanagan said, "so I had to make up for it. I just had to trust myself and trust my line to block for me, and I got it in."
"I was thinking that I can't miss the sweet spot of the ball. I might have topped it a little bit but it still went in."
Evanston had one final chance and drove into Knights territory, but a sack by Matuszak after a Wildkits fumble with 26.8 seconds left secured the triumph.
"This win just shows that everybody on our team can play," said Flanagan. "Everyone is always so offense-focused, but when you look at our defense we just have guys that can ball all around. I'm so happy tonight for our defense and special teams."